Do you love a challenge?  We do.  

At the very heart of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership is the belief that each and every one of us makes a difference. We believe that every individual has the ability – and the responsibility – to preserve, protect and improve our land and water.

Canoes on Flint Creek

At the IRWP we pursue a passion for our natural resources by shining a spotlight on people and practices that are improving and protecting the environment.  We believe we can be most impactful by shining the spotlight on the practices that are working well and by providing informative, easy tools that help individuals to make a positive difference. Those individual actions have both an immediate and long term impact on our rivers, lakes and streams, and also influence and encourage similar actions in others.


Sound like a challenge you’re up for?  Take the Action Challenge!

Pledge to do one of these 4 actions to help preserve, protect and improve the Illinois River Watershed and then tell us your story!



Walmart volunteers for IRWP

1.  Volunteer and participate in a conservation project

– Sign up to join one of our scheduled projects – they range from lake and river cleanups to tree planting.  Dates for scheduled events listed here.  One of our biggest volunteer events is the Riparian project we do each spring.  We coordinate volunteers to plant tree seedlings in multiple locations across the Illinois River Watershed.  Next year, our event will be on March 8, 2014.

– Or, if you would like to schedule a special one for your business, church or organization, contact us at


PIC 2_SpringdaleAirport RainGarden

2.  Use native plants, grasses and trees in landscaping

 - Plant a tree.  Planting trees can improve water quality and we can help!  We can provide trees, and the manpower to help you plant beneficial trees in areas that are in need of riparian buffers and stream bank stabilization. More information is available here.

– Install a Rain Garden.  Rain Gardens can mimic the natural absorption and pollutant removal activities of a forest or meadow and can absorb runoff more efficiently than a standard lawn.  And they add to a beautiful landscape as well.  We provide you with instructions to do it yourself.  Or, if you’re planning a large project at your business, we can help you coordinate the project and lead your group in this excellent team building exercise!

– Choose native plants for your landscape.  Native plants and trees have the ability to reduce storm water flow by allowing rain to soak into the ground through their deep root systems, sometimes reaching over twelve feet! Plant roots have an established relationship with microorganisms in the soil that work together to filter and “scrub” pollutants from storm water as well. Here’s a list of some of the best native plants.


Alternate Watering System

3.     Install a best practice with the USDA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and/or the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) on your land.


– Create a healthy Riparian Buffer to the area of land directly influenced by water (rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, marshes).  There are cost share programs especially for the Illinois River Watershed to help you establish native warm season grasses, plant hardwood trees, install alternative watering systems and fencing for cattle exclusion with any needed creek crossings adjacent to waterways.  These actions help prevent sediment, nutrients, pesticides and other pollutants from entering the stream. Find out how to make your land more productive while taking care of the environment in the Handbook of Best Management Practices for the Upper Illinois River Watershed.



LID Design

4.  Contact a local city or county representative to advocate for Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development.

Make your voice heard. Let your representatives know that Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development leads to Smart Growth for our watershed.  To learn more about Green Infrastructure and LID, click here.  Once you understand the importance of Green Infrastructure, you can let your local, state, and national representatives know that you support these initiatives in the Illinois River Watershed.  We’ve provided a sample email note and a list of the representatives in our watershed to help you get started.



Any one of these actions will have a lasting impact on our watershed.  Make your mark.  Do your part.  Accept the Action Challenge!


Sign-up and tell us how you plan to implement your action.


Or visit to register your Action Challenge by clicking HERE!


Related Posts:

Watershed Landscape: Rain Gardens, A Blooming Good Idea!

Watershed Landscape: Top 10 Native Plants to Plant for Fall


Additional Resources:


EPA Green Infrastructure

EPA Low Impact Development

Center for Watershed Protection